THYME

Description

Thymus vulgaris L. Fam Lamiaceae (Labiatae). The name derives from the Greek thymos (thumos), which refers, in a general sense, to courage and vitality. It is a small shrub spontaneous to the Mediterranean area and belonging to the Labiatae family. Once fully developed, it can reach 40 cm in height. The plant assumes the form of a compact bush composed of many small branches that have lanceolate leaves of a few millimeters in length. The texture of the twigs is woody and such as to make them difficult to remove without the use of scissors. It flowers from May-June, emitting a large number of small white, pink, or lilac flowers bunched together in whorls. It likes to grow in full sun and on dry soil (excessive irrigation causes the lowering of the aroma). Its leaves contain strongly scented essential oils that have antibacterial, digestive, carminative, diuretic, and balsamic properties. In the past, apart from its healthy purposes, it was also used as an aromatizing essence during religious functions (the twigs would be burnt).

Cultivation

Thyme grows wild in the Mediterranean and, like rosemary and sage, can be grown in the vegetable garden, in the garden, or in vases without any major problems, provided it be in full sun. In the case of cultivation in container, given its strong growth, the plants have to be repotted in containers that are sufficiently wide and deep. The soil may be made up of 70% organic soil and 30% inert material, to facilitate the draining of excess water. Watering should be regular. Once a month, it is opportune to fertilize with a ternary fertilizer dissolved in the irrigation water. The branches should be trimmed often to obtain compact plants with fresh sprouts that can be used in cuisine.